As you probably know, betting odds reflect the probability of something happening.
So, if a horse is a 1/2 ‘dead cert’ then in actual fact it has a 66% chance of winning – that’s the law of implied probability in action.
As such, a 1000/1 shot has a 0.1% chance of triumphing – not exactly a success rate that hints at long term glory.
And yet….there was another entrant into the 1000/1 club this week.
Fantasy Believer was running in a mile-long handicap at Kempton on Wednesday, and after falling behind the rest of the field early on layers were only keen to offer up prices of 1000.00 on the Betfair Exchange.
Even as they entered the final bend, those with a significant liability wouldn’t have been too concerned – Fantasy Believer was still the back marker entering the straight.
And then the thing that high risk layers dread began to unfold in front of their very eyes – the four-year-old began to make progress, overtaking a number of rivals and entering the thick end of things with a furlong to run.
Egged on by jockey Kieran Shoemark, Fantasy Believer stayed on inside the final dash and clung on for the most remarkable of victories.
Fantasy Believer flies home after a slow start! 🚀
— Kempton Park Racecourse (@kemptonparkrace) April 14, 2021
“They’ve gone very quick and it’s fallen into his lap,” Shoemark said afterwards, scarcely believing that had just happened. “I wouldn’t say I was never really happy during the race.
“Turning in they were about 15 lengths ahead of me and I thought I’d try to latch onto the pack. Once he passed one, he gained confidence and went for the next one. It was a good effort.”
According to reports, £13 was matched on the Exchange – meaning one or more people were very happy with their afternoon’s work, and that the layer(s) may have been left drowning heir sorrows in a pub garden (if they could book a table at their local, obviously).
As mentioned, 1000/1 winners aren’t as rare as you might think – so lay a back marker at your peril….
The Halcyon Days of 2019
Believe it or not, there have been well over two hundred 1000/1 winners on the Betfair Exchange since the platform was launched many moons ago.
Amazingly, there were 62 such occurrences in 2019 alone!
The best of the bunch had to be Lady Monica at Nottingham in the May of that year. She started the 6f race with an SP of 400/1, so she was a no-hoper in the eyes of pretty much everyone, but even so a handful of plucky punters – 77, in fact – had a dabble as she laboured in mid-field behind leader Obe Jo.
The favourite was backed into 1.01 as he looked set to wrap up a processional victory, but a lack of stamina on the soft ground was exposed and Lady Monica emerged from nowhere to wrap up the most unexpected – in all senses of the word – of wins.
With £748 matched, that meant a liability for one or more layers of £748,000….oh dear, oh dear.
That was just the tip of the iceberg in 2019. Keppage (19 bets, £513 matched), Buster Edwards (2 bets, £289 matched) and Graineyhill (92 bets, £82 matched) were just some of the other horses that prevailed at the magic mark of 1000/1.
Johnny Be Good
Rewind to December 2020, and a meeting at Limerick.
Johnny’s Girl was running in the 13:05 opener, and had been well backed before the off – her odds had shortened from 33/1 to 11/1 prior to the starter’s gun.
The eight-year-old did not start well in the 2m 6f handicap, however, and had meandered out wide into a detached position from the rest of the pack. The 3/1 favourite Kristian Goingwel was living up this name too.
It was almost as if hitting 1000.00 spurred on Johnny’s Girl, and with £173 matched she started her run for home as the field entered the final straight.
Gearoid Brouder asked his mount to kick on and she obliged, taking the final flight in first place from Kirstian Goingwel before powering home willingly.
The 1.01 Carve Up
The spiritual opposite of backing a 1000/1 winner is laying a 1.01 cert on the Exchange.
For context, the implied probability of a 1.01 shot is 99% – unsurprisingly, very few horses that reach this mark are defeated.
But occasionally it happens, and in fine style too back in February 2018.
Rather than one leader hitting the assumed unassailable 1.01 position, THREE horses all hit the mark in a handicap hurdle at Wetherby.
In the end, none of the trio won – those seeking an easy payday by backing the 1.01 chances were left with egg on their faces to some tune.